December 29, 2015 1:51 pm
Updated: December 30, 2015 1:32 am

Asking for the number of a tire dealership is not a reason to call 911

WATCH: E-Comm has issued its annual list of the most ridiculous, time-wasting inappropriate calls to 911. Jordan Armstrong reports.


Asking for the number of a local tire dealership, or being refused a coffee refill is not a reason to call 9-1-1, ever.

That’s the message E-Comm wants to get out to British Columbians with the release of the top 10 calls that shouldn’t have been placed to 9-1-1 in 2015.

Almost 3,400 9-1-1 calls are received by E-Comm dispatchers every day and while many use the emergency number responsibly, calls like the ones on this year’s list waste valuable emergency resources by tying up 9-1-1 call taker’s time.

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“We want to remind people about what’s at risk when 9-1-1 is used as an information line or for other reasons that do not meet the test of a true emergency: A police, fire or medical situation that requires immediate action because someone’s health, safety, or property is in jeopardy or a crime is in progress,” said Jody Robertson, E-Comm’s director of corporate communications.

Call-takers have to treat every call as an emergency, no matter how illogical it may seem on the surface.

“We are trained to ask questions in case a caller is in distress and can’t speak freely,” said call-taker Harrison Kwan. “It’s only when I’m completely satisfied that the call is not a real emergency that I can disconnect and go back to answering other 9-1-1 calls. And that takes time.”

Kwan was the recipient of the year’s top nuisance call – Requesting the number of a local tire dealership.

2015 top reasons to not call 9-1-1:

1. Requesting the number for a local tire dealership

2. Reporting an issue with a vending machine

3. Asking for the non-emergency line

4. Because a car is parked too close to theirs

5. “My son won’t put his seatbelt on”

6. Coffee shop is refusing to refill coffee

7. Asking if it’s okay to park on the street

8. “My roommate used my toothbrush”

9. Asking for help getting a basketball out of a tree

10. Reporting that their building’s air system is too loud and they can’t sleep

“We hope that our message that 9-1-1 call-takers can’t answer questions or manage non-emergency situations on 9-1-1 lifelines will encourage people to learn more about 9-1-1,” Robertson said. “There’s lots of information on our web site——about when to use 9-1-1 and when to use non-emergency numbers for police, fire and ambulance, along with easy access to those numbers and free education materials available for order, including learning tools for children.”

© 2015 Shaw Media

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